The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 262

the roof or other parts of
the building, will receive the lightning at its upper end, attracting
it so as to prevent its striking any other part; and, affording it a
good conveyance into the earth, will prevent its damaging any part of
the building.

A small quantity of metal is found able to conduct a great quantity
of this fluid. A wire no bigger than a goose-quill has been known
to conduct (with safety to the building as far as the wire was
continued) a quantity of lightning that did prodigious damage both
above and below it; and probably larger rods are not necessary,
though it is common in America, to make them of half an inch, some of
three quarters, or an inch diameter.

The rod may be fastened to the wall, chimney, &c. with staples of
iron.--The lightning will not leave the rod (a good conductor) to
pass into the wall (a bad conductor) through those staples.--It would
rather, if any were in the wall, pass out of it into the rod to get
more readily by that conductor into the earth.

If the building be very large and extensive, two or more rods may be
placed at different parts, for greater security.

Small ragged parts of clouds, suspended in the air between the
great body of clouds and the earth (like leaf gold in electrical
experiments) often serve as partial conductors for the lightning,
which proceeds from one of them to another, and by their help comes
within the striking distance to the earth or a building. It therefore
strikes through those conductors a building that would otherwise be
out of the striking distance.

Long sharp points communicating with the earth, and presented to
such parts of clouds, drawing silently from them the fluid they are
charged with, they are then attracted to the cloud, and may leave the
distance so great as to be beyond the reach of striking.

It is therefore that we elevate the upper end of the rod six or eight
feet above the highest part of the building, tapering it gradually to
a fine sharp point, which is gilt to prevent its rusting.

Thus the pointed rod either prevents a stroke from the cloud, or,
if a stroke is made, conducts it to the earth with safety to the

The lower end of the rod should enter the earth so deep as to come
at the moist part, perhaps two or three feet; and if bent when under
the surface so as to go in a horizontal line six or eight feet from
the wall, and then bent again

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

Page 0
Page 9
His grandson, Samuel Franklin, now lives in Boston.
Page 34
handsomely in so short a time; therefore, seeing no prospect of an accommodation between my brother and me, he gave his consent to my returning again to Philadelphia, advised me to behave respectfully to the people there, endeavor to obtain the general esteem, and avoid lampooning and libeling, to which he thought I had too much inclination; telling me that by steady industry and a prudent parsimony I might save enough by the time I was one and twenty to set me up; and that, if I came near the matter, he would help me out with the rest.
Page 36
Knowing I had that money of Vernon's, he was continually borrowing of me, still promising repayment as soon as he should be in business.
Page 46
Mandeville, author of the "Fable of the Bees," who had a club there, of which he was the soul, being a most facetious, entertaining companion.
Page 63
He had printed an address of the House to the governor in a coarse, blundering manner; we reprinted it elegantly and correctly, and sent one to every member.
Page 66
[101] I soon after obtained, through my friend Hamilton, the printing of the Newcastle paper money, another profitable job, as I then thought it, small things appearing great to those in small circumstances; and these, to me, were really great advantages, as they were great encouragements.
Page 88
You will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.
Page 89
Most of these are lost; but I find one purporting to be the substance of an intended creed, containing, as I thought, the essentials of every known religion, and being free of everything that might shock the professors of any religion.
Page 95
there with his printing house.
Page 104
money itself being of a prolific nature.
Page 107
A transaction in our fire company gave me some insight into their prevailing sentiments.
Page 121
"That the mud, when raked up, be not left in heaps to be spread abroad again by the wheels of carriages and trampling of horses, but that the scavengers be provided with bodies of carts, not placed high upon wheels, but low upon sliders, with lattice bottoms, which, being covered with straw, will retain the mud thrown into them, and permit the water to drain from it, whereby it will become much lighter, water making the greatest part of its weight; these bodies of carts to be placed at convenient distances, and the mud brought to them in wheelbarrows, they remaining where placed till the mud is drained, and then horses brought to draw them away.
Page 125
We parted, he going to Philadelphia and I to Boston.
Page 128
The fund for paying them was the interest of all the paper currency then extant in the province upon loan, together with the revenue arising from the excise,[163] which being known to be more than sufficient, they obtained instant credit, and were not only received in payment for the provisions, but many moneyed people who had cash lying by them invested it in those orders, which they found advantageous, as they bore interest while upon hand and might on any occasion be used as money; so that they were eagerly all bought up, and in a few weeks none.
Page 131
Page 142
, and in continual ill humor, which put me in mind of a sea captain, whose rule it was to keep his men constantly at work; and, when his mate once told him that they had done everything, and there was nothing further to employ them about, "Oh," says he, "make them scour the anchor.
Page 156
Shirley was, I believe, sincerely glad of being relieved from so burdensome a charge as the conduct of an army must be to a man unacquainted with military business.
Page 169
And again, At a great pennyworth pause awhile.
Page 172
However, remember this: They that will not be counseled cannot be helped; and further that, If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles, as Poor Richard says.